And they almost certainly will be seeded too low to host during the first weekend, which would be just the third time in the 26 years in which seeding determined hosting fromthe first-weekend sites were predetermined. The other two times? In and under Holly Warlick. There are few things easier in sports than being mesmerized by the achievement of the late Pat Summitt, whose importance stretched far beyond basketball success but whose basketball success in Knoxville from means this remains one of two flagship programs in the sport. Holly Warlick's salary is middle of SEC Tennessee women's basketball coach Holly Warlick yells out directions to her team during the game against Kentucky on Thursday, January 10,
This, it could be construed, was good news for the University of Louisville.
The reason: Warlick staying would help ease concerns about Jeff Walz staying at Louisville. As a former beat writer in Knoxville who has covered Tennessee athletics, please allow me to explain: Knoxville takes women's basketball seriously.
Crowds at games have historically been tremendous. The sport's hall of fame is basically on Tennessee's campus, right down the street from Thompson-Boling Arena. The basketball court at that arena is named "The Summitt" in honor of the late coaching legend Pat Summitt, who built Tennessee into the sport's predominant power for decades before stepping down in after eight national championships and 1, victories.
There is perhaps no more difficult task in coaching than immediately following a legend, and despite some early success she went in her first three seasons in charge , Warlick did not lead Tennessee to a Final Four in her first six seasons.
That likely won't happen this year either.
Tennessee is and on the bubble to even make the NCAA Tournament would be the first time since that UT failed to make the postseason in women's basketball.
And that, for Tennessee women's basketball, is simply not good enough. Knoxville News Sentinel columnist John Adams wrote last week, after Vanderbilt improved to by beating Tennessee in Knoxville for the first time ever, that it was time for a coaching change atop the storied program.
Instead, things are changing for the worse," Adams wrote.
And that's where Walz comes in. There were rumors before about Tennessee being interested in Walz when Warlick's status was previously called into question.
For sure, Walz has done a fantastic job. He has built Louisville women's basketball into one of the most successful programs in the sport.
The Cardinals have a legit shot at a national championship this season. The love and tradition of women's basketball in Knoxville are different than perhaps anywhere else in the country.
As an old-school Vols coach and administrator, Fulmer knows that as well as anybody. It's reasonable to think he'd aim as high as possible in any coaching search.
He also has SEC money to play with.
Consider that in , Tennessee's athletics revenue ranked 11th nationally. Louisville's ranked 22nd. Walz would have to at least listen. Worth noting: Louisville was faced with a similar situation after this past baseball season, when a traditional powerhouse program at Mississippi State came calling for Dan McDonnell.
McDonnell did listen, and the Cards stepped up and did what it needed to do to keep him in Louisville. From the looks of what is happening at Tennessee right now, they might need to do the same with Walz.
Now he's making the most of a shot with the AAF's Memphis team, booting a game-winning field goal Saturday. There was quite the visitor in advance of Louisville's spring showcase Thursday. And a big performance for Devin Booker. What We're Reading Uh, oh.
Santa Anita's tragic rash of horse fatalities certainly hasn't gone unnoticed in Kentucky. Butler did win, reaching the quarterfinals along with Trinity, which cruised to a win Wednesday.
While the priority is obviously the safety of horses after such horrific events at Santa Anita, there are will now be some logistical concerns to consider at it pertains to qualification efforts for the Kentucky Derby.
Speaking of the Rebel Stakes, the addition in entries for that race could be so much that Oaklawn is considering splitting the field into two divisions and two races, which would be a first.
If that race does not happen as scheduled, it could obviously beef up the competition in fields that same day for the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct and Blue Grass at Keeneland.
Gentry Estes: ; gestes courierjournal.